Words by: Zachary Franck
Why Pink Talking Fish: The Wall Will be Straight-Up Insane
Jan 22 / Monday
Pink Talking Fish was founded by bassist Eric Gould after he spent years touring across the country with jamtronica founders, Particle. By combining the discographies of Pink Floyd, Talking Heads, and Phish, PTF constructs interesting setlists with song combinations that you won't see anywhere else. After delivering a memorable version of Stop Making Sense, Eric Gould says that they're prepared to give fans a mind-blowing rendition of The Wall. If you're a fan of Pink Floyd, Phish, and The Talking Heads, you should definitely be at The Cap on Saturday, February 10. Like Gould says, "It’s really fun to see people come experience PTF for the first time and realize that we are much more than just a tribute band."
1.You were one of the founding members of Particle, a band that pioneered jamtronica and combined a number of genres. Now you’re the bassist of Pink Talking Fish, a band that has merged the song catalogues of Pink Floyd, Talking Heads, and Phish – three of the biggest bands in music history. They also have three of the most devoted fan bases of all time, how do you keep the music fresh and interesting without straying too far from the foundations they set?
Performing live music is one of my favorite parts of this life. Innovation enhances that joy 10 fold. Being a part of the livetronica movement when it was blossoming was exciting and a pleasure. It set the bar high for my aspirations in this career. Now, with Pink Talking Fish, there is another opportunity to innovate in the Tribute Realm with a sub genre that blurs the lines of tribute and originality.
The beauty of Pink Talking Fish is that we create an original show that utilizes the songbooks of these 3 incredible artists. We honor the music and take it very seriously. We also design shows that make this material fresh for lovers of these songbooks. Sometimes it is compatible song combinations and matching grooves like The Talking Heads “Slippery People” and Phish’s “Sand. Sometimes it is a mashup like fusing Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” with David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”. We often take a song like Pink Floyd’s “Fearless” and add the chorus of another song over the melody like Phish’s Prince Caspian. We also design original instrumental segues or chord progressions. When PTF plays The Talking Heads “Wild Wild Life”, we add a full synth solo in the middle and wrote a chord progression that brings us back into the song. These ideas are overflowing out of us as a band and it keeps getting more interesting.
It’s really fun to see people come experience PTF for the first time and realize that we are much more than just a tribute band.
2. Can you also tell us a little bit about the process of going from playing with Particle to playing with PTF? Do you feel that your jamtronica roots have helped you when you’re playing the timeless music of these bands?
I’ve been able to capture much of the joy that I got playing with Particle in PTF. Particle touched on psychedelic sounds that we accomplish with Pink Floyd, locking grooves that we accomplish with The Talking Heads and improvisational tension/release that we accomplish in the jam vehicles of Phish.
Particle was all about losing yourself in the trance of the groove. Letting the flow of the music blossom into something and taking time for it to develop. I would always write the setlist in Particle and made sure that the transitions had innovative connection. The design of a show is very important to me, even if it deviates because inevitably live music has a life of its own and if you truly open your heart and soul to that it will guide you as a vessel.
With Pink Talking Fish, the setlist is a huge part of the show. PTF is more apt to stick to the setlist because the vision of what we are creating is important to all the band members. That said, we have many spaces where we leave how we are arriving to the next song open to what happens in the improvisational journey.
3. Pink Floyd played The Capitol Theatre in April of 1970. This is the second time that PTF has played at The Capitol Theatre. How cool is it for PTF to play on the same stage as one of the bands that you look up to the most? What does it mean to headline The Cap?
It goes beyond the fact that Pink Floyd and Phish have played on this stage. It is all the other incredible artists who have helped shape the history of The Capitol Theatre. To be able to bring our energy into this room and be a part of this story is a pleasure and an honor.
4. You guys are going to be playing The Wall, an important album of the times, what does that album mean to the band? What effect did it have on you when you were younger?
The Wall is epic. The Wall sparks a
revolution and radiates an urge to be strong during challenging times. The Wall captures emotions that run all across the spectrum. It is an album that offers so much more than simple entertainment.
We live in an interesting time with the existing political climate.
Whenever we perform a song like Mother or Another Brick in the Wall, the audience response sparks a heightened energy. All the band members of Pink Talking Fish went to see Roger Waters together last year and we were awestruck by the power of this music and the impact it had on people in the arena. I look forward to performing this show in the name of entertainment but I also am aware that there could be some wild emotions running through the room through this experience as well.
5. Looking back on the last fifty years of music, what makes Pink Floyd such an important band? Why do you think they’ve had such an enormous impact on America?
Some bands create imagery that prints a permanent stamp
in the soul. Pink Floyd has done this with their melodies, with their visual production and with their messages in the lyrics. Many people can sing Gilmour’s solos more precisely than they can sing lyrics to a song. The impact isn’t just
on America. It is
on the world. That is the power of music. Breathe, Time, Money, Shine On You Crazy Diamond, Animals…these feelings are imprinted in a phenomenon. It is so very special.
6. Last time you guys were at The Cap, you played Stop Making Sense, another classic album, what do you remember about that show? If and when you guys play The Cap next, what album would you do?
The Stop Making Sense show was a high energy party for the entire 3-hour marathon performance. Those songs are just so much fun! My favorite part of the experience was putting together that incredible ensemble of special guests. Leo Nocentelli from The Meters, Adrian Tramontano from Kung Fu, the Turkuaz crew and Jon Braun from Start Making Sense all were wonderful to work with and made the show soar!
The Wall is going to have some great guests as well. We have Sammi Garett and Shira Elias from Turkuaz coming back to join us. We also have Rob Compa from Dopapod and Nate Wilson form Percy Hill. This show will also be a 3 plus hour marathon performance and is set to be an epic adventure.
What do we do next? Time will tell. All I can say now is that we will make sure that every PTF performance at The Capitol Theatre is something special.
7. Can you elaborate on why you guys picked the discographies of Pink Floyd, Talking Heads, and Phish over some of the other bands that you grew up on?
In Particle, I did not perform many covers. We had a much larger focus on original music. In 2008, I moved to Kansas City and wound up getting involved with a residency where we performed many cover songs. I had never put my fingers around these songs and they felt great. They inspired me and enhanced my skills.
I had the idea to form a group that combined three of my favorite bands into one live show. It was mainly because I wanted to write and implement “dream setlists”. I chose these three bands because they are three of my favorite acts that had a unique synergy in groove and artistic emotion. So far it has worked out pretty well!
8. What would you say to diehard fans of Pink Floyd that are currently on the fence about coming to see you guys at The Cap?
This will be The Wall like you’ve never seen it. Something different. Something fresh. PTF takes Pink Floyd very seriously and this is going to be one helluva ride! We highly recommend that you come experience this incredible album in one of the most amazing venues in the world.